Posted inCommunity, HOUGH

Jessica Barbara Horne: Community Champion and Legacy of Kawaida Spirit

By Sheila Ferguson

In the heart of Cleveland’s Hough community, a beacon of unwavering dedication to social justice and community empowerment has dimmed. On March 5, Jessica Barbara Horne, the retired founding Director of Cleveland Cleveland Urban Minority Alcoholism Drug Abuse Outreach Project (UMADAOP), transitioned, leaving behind a legacy etched in the annals of Ohio’s social services landscape. A funeral service was held on March 17, the community mourns the transition of a shero whose 50 year record of service continues to inspire and uplift generations.

Acknowledged as one of the captains who directed UMADAOP’s family and child welfare programming from 2004 to 2012, her legacy remains deeply rooted in love, hope, and healing for all who had the privilege of knowing her. Horne’s commitment to the well-being of the Black community and her efforts to combat the ravages of chemical dependency and addiction are remembered with reverence.

Horne’s dedication to the spirit of “Kawaida” permeated her work and community life, leaving an enduring legacy. “Kawaida,” as described by African American culturalist Dr. Maulana Ron Karenga, emphasizes the value of African culture as a foundation for liberation, ethical insights, and solving complex challenges facing Black communities. Horne’s embodiment of these principles ensured her impacts were lasting and profound.

Throughout her illustrious career, Horne was hailed as a beacon, pioneer, shero, and superhero, a testament to her unwavering belief in the beauty and uniqueness of all Black people. Her tireless advocacy for cultural pride, uplifting and encouraging words, and intergenerational impact, left an indelible mark on the Cleveland community.

In recognition of Horne’s enduring contributions, her family is establishing the Jessica B. Horne Scholarship Fund to empower future generations. The scholarship will honor her commitment to education and community empowerment, while ensuring her legacy lives on for years to come.

Horne’s passing marks the end of an era, but her spirit of resilience, compassion, and commitment to justice will continue to inspire and uplift communities for generations to come.